Perth startup Nuheara has raised over $500,000 on Indiegogo as it looks to bring its first product to market in time for the holiday season later this year. It comes after the startup became the first wearables company to list on the ASX in March, raising $3.5 million in a public offering that was oversubscribed and closed early.
Just a month later, the startup hit its goal of raising $50,000 on Indiegogo within the first two hours of launching its campaign, and within two weeks has raised $500,000.
For over 18 months Nuheara has been working on intelligent earbuds called IQbuds that aim to improve hearing for the hearing impaired in both the digital and physical world.
IQbuds give users the power to control what they hear through wireless earbuds. For example, in a loud social environment a user can control what they hear based on their preference and location. Intelligent hearing also enables users to connect to their digital devices through bluetooth connectivity so they can listen to music on their stereo, engage with SIRI and other voice command apps and make hands-free phone calls.
“IQbuds will be the first true hearable that will change the way millions of people listen, communicate and connect to their world,” said cofounder of Nuheara David Cannington.
Although the IQbuds are not hearing aids, they have proprietary intelligent hearing technology known as Super Intelligent Noise Cancellation (SINC). The device augments hearing and has the potential to impact the hearing aid industry through its offering of affordable technology and hearing devices.
Cannington said pre-marketing is critical and believes mitigating risks with marketing data gave Nuheara the confidence of a successful campaign. Before crowdfunding, Nuheara built a database of 20,000 people who signed up to the website pre-launch. Nuheara also held off launching its crowdfunding campaign until it received a positive response from beta testers during the prototype stage.
To show other potential investors and consumers the success of impact of the prototype, Nuheara captured consumer reactions to their experiences with IQbuds and posted these videos on their site and in their marketing campaigns.
Cannington said its marketing campaigns and market research has also helped Nuheara to position itself as a global company. The startup has already received pre-orders from more than 2,100 people from over 60 countries. Nuheara is expecting to ship its products to early backers in December this year.
Recently the global wearables market has been experiencing explosive growth with new market trends and wearable devices being shipped around the world every day. According to a market update by International Data Corporation (IDC) the worldwide market has more than doubled with shipping up 171.6 percent from 2014 to 2015.
“Triple-digit growth highlights growing interest in the wearables market from both end-users and vendors. It shows that wearables are not just for the technophiles and early adopters; wearables can exist and are welcome in the mass market,” said IDC Research Manager, Ramon Llamas.
To dominate the wearable space, Nuheara has developed a contractual R&D relationship with Curtin University, which is complementing current and future engineering needs. Nuheara is funding post-doctoral researchers at the University, who specialise in digital signal processing and augmented hearing.
“Curtin University provides an added level of robustness to our global business and product aspirations. In that sense, we are proud to be a poster child for Universities and the private sector collaborating to build innovative technology products for the global market, ” said Justin Miller, CEO of Nuheara.
Nuheara has also partnered up with one of the world’s leading wearable incubators, Wearable World IoT Labs in San Francisco. With a second office based in the Valley, Nuheara is well positioned to commercialise and globalise its product.
Cannington said, “It’s a huge advantage for Nuheara to have a base in the heart of the wearables ecosystem in Silicon Valley. We are creating a go-to-market channel for all the great technology being developed by our team in Perth.”.
Image: Justin Miller and David Cannington. Source: Supplied